PR exec was 'professionally compromised' in denying links between Van and Gigi
Published 18/04/2011 | 05:00
A PUBLIC relations executive has claimed he was professionally compromised when he strenuously denied links between singer Van Morrison and the woman who allegedly gave birth to his child.
Gigi Lee, who it later emerged had been the singer's executive producer on his US tour, hit the headlines in December 2009.
A statement on the singer's own website claimed at that point he had had a baby with her.
However, within days, Mr Morrison's close friend, John Saunders, a co-founder and regional president of Fleishman-Hillard, claimed on RTE that the website had been hacked.
The statement about Mr Morrison fathering a baby was completely false, he said.
In that interview, Mr Saunders said that after speaking to Morrisson, the singer had categorically denied knowing anything about it and Mr Morrison had told him he did not know who Gigi Lee was.
However, in an affidavit filed in the High Court in Belfast last week, Mr Saunders said he had been professionally and personally compromised when it subsequently emerged that Morrison did in fact know Ms Lee.
Mr Saunder's affidavit was vital in the lifting of an injunction last week preventing the 'News of the World' from publishing a story linking the singer to Ms Lee.
In a personal statement issued at the weekend through his solicitor, Mr Saunders said he had been acting on "categoric and very specific instructions" and information given to him personally by Van Morrison that he did not know Gigi Lee when he issued the statement on the singer's behalf in December 2009.
At Mr Morrisson's request, he had agreed as a favour to him to be interviewed by RTE news on the same day. He did so for a number of reasons.
These included his long standing friendship with Michelle (Morrison's wife), what he thought was a good relationship with Van, with whom he had spent many enjoyable times in the past and the fact that he was so adamantly denying a story that was causing a great deal of distress to his family, he said.
"This statement and Van's denials received global coverage and, for the most part, widespread acceptance," Mr Saunders said.
"I was therefore totally bewildered, never mind compromised professionally and personally, when it subsequently transpired that Gigi Lee was in fact not only known to Van but was in fact a member of his commercial entourage."